In-person workouts for this year’s NBA Draft process have been mostly off-limits since the pandemic hit earlier this year. Same goes for in-person interviews. But, there have been shifts nonetheless, if only minor, in how some of the prospects in the 2020 class are viewed by front offices as the NBA’s virtual combine process has started in lieu of its traditional scouting combine.
The CBS Sports Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects Big Board is updated to reflect those changes. And while the top five on our Big Board remains unchanged, there are a few notable risers in our latest update and a short list of players who are falling as the Nov. 18 draft approaches.
Want more analysis of the top prospects in the NBA Draft? Listen below and subscribe to the Eye on College Basketball podcast where we take a deep dive on the top players heading to the next level.
Risers Aleksej Pokusevski, Serbia
The balance between intrigue surrounding Pokusevski and known intel surrounding him is heavily skewed towards the former. He’s a mystery. And as time passes us by, I get the sense that teams want him to stay that way. Pop his tape and you’ll see a 7-foot, 205-pound rail who needs serious physical maturation — but also a fluid athlete who can run the floor, shoot it and defend. The blend of his size, skill and upside is All-Star caliber if he can put it together. It’s a big if, of course, but in a draft mostly devoid of potential game-changers, I find it more and more unlikely he slips out of the first round. At some point, one team is going to weigh the risk and reward and decide a developmental investment — even if it takes time, and even if he never reaches his ceiling — is worth what he could become.
Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky
I could lie to you and tell you that Tyler Herro’s rapid rise with the Miami Heat as a rookie isn’t a factor here in Maxey getting a healthy bump, but, I pride myself on being a straight shooter. And the truth is that Herro’s star turn in the NBA Playoffs, where he’s shown an ability to score it off the bounce and create, is aces for Maxey’s draft stock. Maxey struggled to shoot it from distance at UK and projects more as a shooting guard than a point guard in the NBA, but there’s similarities between the two — particularly their roles with UK — that suggest that Maxey, like Herro, will have more NBA success than he did in college. He’s an incredible on-ball defender with an elite pedigree. So if his shot improves only slightly from his time in college, there’s a non-zero chance he winds up as a top-five player from this class and turns out to be a steal in this range. It’s hard to overlook the fact that he shot below 30% from 3-point range in college, but with NBA spacing, the potential of him becoming a serviceable shooter vaults him into a higher tier than where he’s currently being valued. Buy low.
Precious Achiuwa, Memphis
There remains some curiosity about how, exactly, Achiuwa fits in the NBA. Is he a true center? Can he play power forward? Because of his 6-9 frame, he’s seen as something of a tweener. And that’s probably why teams haven’t entirely bought into him. But size be damned, results are incredible. He’s a voracious rim-protector, has great feet and plays with high energy. Defending post to perimeter isn’t a problem for him, and versatility on that end of the floor is a strength. Whether he plays power forward or center, he’ll be an impactful defensive presence, and in time, his fit on offense will work itself out. Any fit concerns should be taken with, at minimum, six grains of salt; Achiuwa can ball. Plain and simple.
Isaiah Joe, Arkansas
New to the Big Board not because of a rapid rise, but because Joe initially announced he was returning to college. Now that he’s two-toes deep with the process, he’s debuting on the Big Board at No. 19. Joe had a down year by his own standards last season at Arkansas as he dealt with lingering injuries, but he was widely viewed as one of the most lethal shooters in the country ahead of last season. Quick, smooth release and reliable 3-point shooter who has an immediate role ready for him in the NBA as a bucket-getter. It’s a skill set that’s at a premium right now in the NBA, and I expect teams will happily pay up — and pay up early.
Tyrell Terry, Stanford
With Terry, there’s only two components of his game holding him back. The first is fixable: he’s only around 160 pounds. He needs to add a good amount of healthy weight and muscle, which he’s been working on all offseason. The second is not, though it shouldn’t be a hindrance: he’s 6-3. So to sum it up: he’s a small guard who needs to add weight and may always operate at a slight disadvantage height-wise. But he’s so, so smooth as a scorer — maybe one of the best in this draft class. The way he can hit shots from all three levels is brilliant enough that some of the concerns about his size may shrink as teams focus in on what he does well.
Fallers Theo Maledon, France
Trending down, but still a huge fan of Maledon’s game overall. He’s a 6-4 combo guard who can defend multiple positions and has enough creation ability to take a flyer on as a point guard or a shooting guard, given the tools he has at his disposal. But he’s not elite in any particular area, and he’s just-OK as an athlete. His biggest selling point as a player is his speed and versatility on defense, and I’m not totally convinced that combo is worthy of lottery range.
Josh Green, Arizona
There’s not a ton of depth at the wing position in this year’s draft, with a clear drop-off between the lottery and the range where Josh Green will likely be selected. That probably is going to play in his favor, and why I still have him higher than most. But there’s an argument to be made that a role player like Green who can defend and play off the ball may not go as high as, say Pokusevski or Terry, dependent upon how teams approach the draft. He has a nice, safe floor, but there’s nice role players in this draft in the late 20s, which is where I’d lump Green in right now.
Top 10 NBA Draft prospects RankPlayerSchool/CountryClassPos.Pos.rankHt.Wt. 1 LaMelo Ball USA – PG 1 6-6 180 2 Killian Hayes France – PG 2 6-5 192 3 Tyrese Haliburton Iowa St. Soph PG 3 6-5 175 4 James Wiseman Memphis Fr C 1 7-1 240 5 Anthony Edwards Georgia Fr SG 1 6-5 225 6 Onyeka Okongwu USC Fr C 2 6-9 245 7 Obi Toppin Dayton Soph PF 1 6-9 220 8 Deni Avdija Israel – SF 2 6-9 215 9 Patrick Williams Florida St. Fr SF 3 6-8 225 10 Kira Lewis Jr. Alabama Soph PG 4 6-3 165
Check out Kyle Boone’s complete NBA Draft Top 100 Prospects Big Board